Published: February 4th 2010, Penguin
Pages: 424 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads): It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
My review: I’ve been a fan of Sarah Dessen for years and years. Her books were always me go-tos during my teenage years for a great read and that hasn’t changed a bit. Dessen is an absolute master of contemporary YA and Along for the Ride is another one of her brilliant stories.
I feel like the strength of Dessen’s books is that her characters are always completely relatable, especially the heroines of the books. Each protagonist seems unique from book to book and Auden is one of the best, in my opinion. I felt for her from the outset and was rooting for her to experience the teenage years she missed out on due to her oppressive mother and constant battle with insomnia.
When she spends the summer with her father and his new family, everything changes for Auden. She gets a job and learns how other girls her age live; it’s at this stage she realises everything she missed out on while trying to please her mother. And when Auden meets Eli she feels as though she’s finally met somebody who understands her.
Eli was a great male lead and he was a refreshing change from the usual perfect boys we find so often in YA fiction. I loved how his and Auden’s relationship flourished and they complimented each other so well. I think their relationship is one of the more realistic I’ve come across in a contemporary novel in a long while, which was great.
So, Sarah Dessen has done it yet again with Along for the Ride. If you’re a fan of her novels then this one’s sure to please and if you haven’t tried one of her books before then I’d recommend this one as a great starting point.
First line: ‘The emails always begin the same way.’
Read if you liked…: This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen
Total: A solid 16/20 (B+)